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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 7 Hansard (4 August) . .

Page.. 2320..


MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Lawder for her supplementary. Access to the area under the Tharwa bridge is not a matter that falls within my portfolio responsibilities. But in relation to policing functions, I can assure Ms Lawder and those opposite that ACT Policing will continue with the proactive approach they have demonstrated to date.

Seniors—rates impact

MRS JONES: My question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, I refer to a letter to the editor in the Canberra Times of 4 August 2016 from a Campbell resident. The resident says, "My rates have increased by 14.9 per cent in the last year. By contrast, my superannuation income which is indexed according to the CPI has increased by 1.3 per cent." Minister, how are people on fixed incomes such as self-funded retirees coping with rates increases that are so high?

MR BARR: The government recognises the need to keep taxes and charges as low as possible and when benchmarked against other jurisdictions in Australia, the ACT has below-Australian average levels of taxation per capita.

Mrs Jones: Rubbish.

MR BARR: No, that is an ABS fact. You are entitled to your own opinions, Mrs Jones, but not to your own facts. Let me be very clear—

Opposition members interjecting—

MADAM SPEAKER: Order!

MR BARR: ACT per capita taxation at $3,524 is below the Australian average of $3,755.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mrs Jones.

MRS JONES: Minister, what analysis has the government done on the impact of its rate increases on senior Canberrans, in particular self-funded retirees?

MR BARR: The government has analysed the impact of revenue increases and service increases through its annual budget process.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Coe.

MR COE: Treasurer, how many senior Canberrans have applied to defer their rates in effect to their estate since the start of the so-called rates reform process?

MR BARR: I do not have that number immediately at hand, but it is a very sensible option for some and would ensure that as the value of their estates grows they are able to try to enhance their current income in current times and ensure that against a growing asset value, namely their estate, they can defer those charges. That is a very sensible and useful scheme for many Canberrans. I will check with the Revenue Office as to how many have taken it up.


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